What's New May 2011
Comi-Con day 3: The legends speak
Saturday: Live long and prosper
For thousands of Comi-Con attendees, Saturday was the day dedicated to the legendary icons Leonard Nimoy and Stan Lee.
At 2:30 p.m. after a brief introduction from voice actor Vic Mignogna, Nimoy took the stage in front of a crowd of over 4000 people.
His hour-long speech, accompanied by a slideshow of photographs, was heartfelt, sincere, humorous, and enlightening. Nimoy discussed his childhood and entrance into the world of theatre, how he secured his famous role of Spock, and his experiences as a photographer.
Nimoy led the colossal audience through his first involvement with acting and a mantra from that play which emotionally impacted him.
“I first stepped out on that stage when I was eight years old for a production of “Hansel and Gretel”, and I played Hansel,” he said. “This theatre had a beautiful embroidered curtain and there was a forest scene and at the bottom, in very beautiful Gothic letters it said, ‘act right your part; there all honor lies,’ and I took that very seriously and feel that it was very important to do an honorable job in the parts that you play.”
Nimoy went on to share a personal insight that his role as an actor gave him at the age of 17.
“I thought if I can do this kind of work for the rest of my life, helping people understand their lives, illuminating the lives for people in the audience I would consider it very important work; I would consider myself blessed to be able to do that,” he said.
Nimoy expressed his brief naivety during his early acting career when during an audition he truthfully stated he didn’t know how to ride a horse for what he would discover was a western themed production.
“You’ve got to learn very quickly when you’re an actor and you go and audition, whatever they ask you ‘can you do’ you say yes,” he said. “’Can you drop off a ship 100 feet in the water and swim 300 yards, kill a shark and climb back onto the ship?’ yes – I’ve done it many times.”
Nimoy talked about how his involvement in the play “Death Watch” propelled his career and eventually landed him on a series called “The Lieutenant,” produced by Gene Roddenberry, which eventually gave him his role as Spock.
“When [Roddenberry] called … and asked for a meeting, I thought okay now he’s going to audition me or whatever,” Nimoy said. “I got there he showed me around the various departments: showed me the sets being built and the costumes being designed. He showed me the props, the communicator and phaser, and the makeup department and he said ‘you’d be wearing pointed ears’ and I thought oh.
“Anyway I realized he was now selling me on this job, and I could have it if I wanted it; all I had to do was keep my mouth shut and I could go to work.”
Nimoy said the idea of Spock was a little scary, but what attracted him was that it was an alien with a human mother and a Vulcan father who wages an internal war between emotion and logic. He said he liked the idea of portraying a character who tried to live his life through logic, and suppress the emotional side of his persona.
He also discussed the birth of Spock’s iconic phrase, “live long and prosper,” along with the Vulcan greeting. The episode “Amok Time” is when Spock must return to Vulcan in order to fulfill a marriage agreement.
“Spock was in heat, it happens once every seven years as you know that; quite an event actually – well worth waiting for,” Nimoy joked. “I said to the director we should [create] something Vulcans do when they greet.”
Nimoy then described a Jewish practice which he modeled the famous hand gesture after.
“A few days after that went on the air, I had it coming back to me on the streets; Kids, bus drivers, police, waiters in restaurants,” Nimoy said laughing.
Then 27 minutes into his performance, Nimoy’s cell phone rings. He answers it and his wife is on the line. “I’m talking to a couple of people,” he told her.
The crowd then greeted his wife and Nimoy related her message of “have fun everybody.”
Laughing at the occurrence, Nimoy quipped, “that’s the first time that’s ever happened.”
Wrapping up the discussion about his acting career, Nimoy said, “all I wanted was to make a living as an actor; I set out to be one more good one, I believe being a good one if you’re going to do it and let’s be as good as we possibly can.
“I had a great, great run,” Nimoy said. “And honor, well I do have four Emmy nominations, and several lifetime achievements, and four honorary doctorates, and plenty of popularity.
“But Victor Hugo reminds us that popularity is the crumbs of greatness,” he said. “Do I have an identity issue? Of course, if someone yells Spock on the street it’s my head that turns.”
In his closing remarks, Nimoy wished “for all mankind the sweet and simply joy that we have found, and I know that it will be. We shall celebrate, we shall taste the wine and the fruit, celebrate the sunset and the sunrise, cold and the warm, sounds and the silences, and the voices of the children.
“Celebrate the dreams and hopes that have filled the souls of all decent men and women, we shall lift our glasses and toast with tears of joy,” Nimoy said. “Friends, I mean it sincerely when I say to you, may each and every one of you live long and prosper.”
Nimoy left the stage with over 4000 standing ovations.
More about the other guests from day 3 here.
Photos from the Clickers and Flickers' photo group meeting on March 22, 2011
|Meeting Leonard Nimoy by ~linus108Nicole on deviantART||
"He. Was. Amazing.
I was lucky enough to meet Leonard Nimoy on March 22nd 2011 at The Castaway Restaurant in Burbank, CA where he was presenting his new photography book, Secret Selves. The event was hosted by Clickers and Flickers, an awesome photography group!
Here I am presenting him with a framed print of my Spock drawing. He signed the original one for me. His birthday is on March 26th and William Shatner's birthday is on March 22nd, so they share their birthday in the same week. Happy Birthday to you both, Leonard and Bill!
Oh, here he was saying that his secret self is Spock! hee hee."
"He looks great for 80! And that cream cardigan must be one of his favorite things to wear. It was a cold night. At the end of the evening, he got his things and walked out by himself and waited in line with the rest of us for the valet guy to get his car. He is such a humble and nice person!"
View all photos here at her gallery.
Leonard Nimoy Starring in a Music Video by Bruno Mars (Updated)
Bruno Mars - The Lazy Song [Official Alternate Version] starring Leonard Nimoy (with appearances by William Shatner and Spock - kind of.)
Here are some reactions to the video. Without wanting to take anything away from, or diminish, what is said about Mr. Nimoy in the post above about him appearing at a Clickers and Flickers photo group meeting, I think this commenter on Trek Movie raises a valid point.
29. Hermioni - May 27, 2011
My personal, immediate reaction to the Bruno-Mars-Lazy-Song music video: What a fantastically entertaining piece and truly cleverly conceived, hilarious deconstruction of Mr. Nimoy´s regular public persona as a wise and highly dignified elder statesman of show business, :-) …
Source: Trek Movie
Leonard Nimoy Stars in a Music Video and it's Awesome
Spock is back, in all his urinating, porn-loving glory.
Leonard Nimoy announced his retirement from acting last year, but that hasn't exactly slowed the Star Trek icon down. He has continued to do voiceover work, including his recent return to Fringe in a trippy animated sequence and he'll be voicing the character Sentinel Prime in the upcoming Transformers: Dark of the Moon. And on top of that, Nimoy has in fact appeared on camera one more time, in a rather awesome music video.
Nimoy is the star of the new Bruno Mars video, for "The Lazy Song." It features Nimoy like we've never seen him before, in many very funny ways. And it seems apparent he's playing himself, thanks to the jokey appearance of another Star Trek alum, via some TV show clips. If this ends up being Nimoy's true, final on-camera acting role, it's a pretty great way for him to take a winking bow and enjoy his well-earned rest and relaxation.
Star Trek's Leonard Nimoy Un-Retires for Bruno Mars
What. The. Hell.
So just how retired is retired, anyway? Because from the looks of Bruno Mars' latest music video for "The Lazy Song (Official Alternate Version)," Leonard Nimoy might have a whole new career on his hands. As what, you might ask? Well, how about a shiftless layabout cruising around town in a bathrobe, stashing up on milk, porn, slapping and flipping off neighbors as he goes?
No, I did not make any of that up. You've got to see the former Star Trek icon's performance in the video to believe it. And feel free to snicker when one or two other famous Trek stars make a brief appearance.
Of course, while the "how" of getting Leonary Nimoy [sic.] to appear in the music video remains a mystery, this is hardly the first time we've seen Nimoy break his supposed retirement. The sci-fi legend recently reprised the role of Fringe's William Bell (albeit only in voice) for episode "Lysergic Acid Diethylamide," and will be heard once more as Sentinel Prime in this Summer's Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
Watch the video for yourself, but set your eyes for stunned.
The why and how was explained by Leonard Nimoy himself in an e-mail to Trek Movie:
Before heading out to Dallas Comic Con last weekend mzLive talked to Mr. Nimoy on the phone about the upcoming Transformers movie, donating his archives to Boston University, doing a William Shatner impression and more. Listen to the interview or download it here.
Next weekend Mr. Nimoy will make his appearance at the Phoenix Comicon and in preparation for the hopefully memorable event the Pheonix New Times takes a closer look at his career as a singer.
Finding Nimoy: Examining the Unsung Musical Merits of the Man Who Played Spock
In 1967, with his role as science officer and lieutenant commander Spock on Star Trek beaming him into living room television sets all across America, Leonard Nimoy boldly went one place he'd never gone before: the recording studio.
A year earlier, Dot Records, a small label known for country, rockabilly, and R&B, approached Desilu Studios, which produced Trek, about the possibility of tapping actors from the show for outer-space-themed records. A memo from Desilu exec Herbert F. Solow makes it clear that the production company was very interested in the idea:
"I think we should push any record company that wants to do an outer space or Vulcan or any other single record or album, be it straight dramatic music, weird music, Nichelle Nichols singing, Bill Shatner doing bird calls, or even the sound of Gene Roddenberry polishing a semi-precious stone on his grinder."
Three starring members of the cast went for it. Nimoy signed on with Dot, while Nichelle Nichols, who played Lieutenant Uhura, chose to record for Epic Records. William Shatner signed with Decca. The three quickly got to work, each releasing albums within the next two years while still shooting the show.
But it was Nimoy who really took to the recording process. Over the next four years, Nimoy would turn out five vocal albums for Dot Records. The songs on the records run the gamut from Vulcan-themed novelty tracks to socially conscious Summer of Love-era folk to singer-songwriter standards to kitschy lounge soundtracks to one unfortunate ode to a little Hobbit.
"The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" has lived in infamy as one of the prime examples of what happens when an actor thinks it's a good idea to have a go at singing. The song sits uncomfortably on the shelf next to Eddie Murphy's "Boogie in Your Butt," Bruce Willis' rendition of "Respect Yourself," and Nimoy's Trek partner Shatner's legendarily kooky take on "Rocket Man."
But here's the real kicker when it comes to Nimoy's musical output: Some of it is good. Seriously good.
Read on here.
Leonard Nimoy: Phoenix Comicon may be one of my last public appearances
College Times: You started as Spock in 1966. What are your thoughts on the evolution science fiction through the years?
Nimoy: Science fiction has replaced the western that we used to do. Western is one of the frontier stories, and science fiction deals with those frontier issues. The way Indians used to be portrayed as the bad people, now we have Vulcans and other aliens as bad people. It has become the new final frontier, because of conflict between the nasty people there. Technology, of course, has evolved exponentially. It's just exploded and that has changed science fiction drastically. The first science fiction work I did was in 1960, I did a project called "Zombies of the Stratosphere." It's really funny to look back on it now, because it is so limited in special effects. The bombast and the gigantic creatures and explosions of today are just extraordinary. It's all about post-production these days.
Is technology one of the elements of a good science fiction story?
Well, the question is what's the story? To me, that's always important, because if you take away all the bombast and the crashes and fires and explosions, I'm interested in the story. Is there something intriguing? Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't.
Spock has become a true pop culture icon. Why do you think this is?
I think people can really identify with him. At times, his wit is very clever. He's also very loyal and helpful. It's interesting – over the years, as much as we talk about Spock being a Vulcan and an alien and all that, if you really stop to think about it, he's really a human character. He's dealing with his own personal issues which are very human issues, because there's the conflict of logic and emotion in his life. And people get that and they understand that and relate to it.
Read on here.
Interview from Dallas Comic Con with THEBIGFANBOY
Excerpt from "An Evening with Leonard Nimoy"
YouTube description: "Leonard Nimoy at the Carpenter Center in Long Beach, Ca recounts one of his journeys on the road of his life as an upcoming actor. (Apr 30, 2011)" Via LNTG
More from Dallas Comic Con
An Evening with Leonard Nimoy at B'nai Israel Congregation
Leonard Nimoy Describes His Jewish Roots
ROCKVILLE, Md. (RNS) The V-shaped hand sign that made actor Leonard Nimoy famous as Mr. Spock may have seemed to be from a planet far away. But the "Star Trek" star says he created it from childhood memories of his Jewish family.
"I reached back to my early years as a child when I was sitting in a synagogue in Boston with my family at the High Holidays," he said Wednesday (May 18) at B'nai Israel Congregation here.
Before the sold-out audience in suburban Washington, the 80-year-old actor re-enacted the blessing Jewish leaders recited at that Orthodox service. Prayer shawl over his head, he stuck out his hands in the shape of the sign he adapted for the TV show that ran for just three seasons in the 1960s but became an instant pop culture phenomenon.
Read on here at the Huffington Post. The following pictures from the event are courtesy of Ebby02.
Dallas Comic Con
An Evening With Leonard Nimoy at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach, California
Audio only excerpt of his talk.
Here's another one leading up to Dallas Comic Con. Among questions about his photography, J.J. Abrams Star Trek, Zachary Quinto and I'm Not Spock, he was also asked what Spock would think about the actor's latest forays into the human condition and some of the questions he gets at those events. (Found by Grace.)
Nimoy treks to Dallas Comic Con
Q: The two most recent books, 'Secret Selves' and 'The Full Body Project,' have somewhat of a common theme, in that they both deal with the beauty and truth of the human condition.
Q: This is where the serious artistic subject gets a corny sci-fi question. What do you think Spock would say about such stark human depictions?
Nimoy: Well, I'll tell you something. I came to believe finally that Spock was at least as human, and perhaps more human, than any of the other characters on the show. Spock's condition was a quintessentially human condition. I think that's maybe the underlying secret to why so many people identify with him, because he had this inner life that so many people recognize, which is the struggle between our logic and our emotion; our right or left brain. We all, to some degree, have this process to deal with. Particularly young people who are in their formative years, trying to figure out how you're supposed to function in relationships, in your career, in your personal choices. It's a condition that's easily recognizable.
So, it's interesting that you ask a question about how Spock would respond to these human issues. I say, he would recognize them totally.
Q: Having attended so many conventions, what is the nerdiest question anyone has ever asked you?
Nimoy: Oh, God! I couldn't possibly – wow, my head spins when you ask me that. I don't know if I could focus on that. I don't know.
Q: Maybe later on you can compile them into a coffee-table book or something.
Nimoy: Yeah, Nerdy Questions. That's a good title. That'll sell better than I Am Not Spock.
Why we love Vulcans
Much analysis has gone into the subject why one particular Vulcan has become the focus of our imagination. This article takes a broader look at why Vulcans are fascinating to us as a species.
Notes from ‘An Evening with Leonard Nimoy’ in Long Beach
On Saturday night April 30th, TrekNews contributor Alton Carswell attended “An Evening with Leonard Nimoy” at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach, California. Below are some of his notes from the event.
- It was great to observe and listen to Leonard Nimoy as he discussed career. During the two-hour discussion Mr. Nimoy told some interesting stories and showed slides looking back on his acting career which has spanned five decades — From his initial roles as secondary characters and various roles in classic Hollywood Westerns and science-fiction films. He went on to discuss his time as Spock in the original Star Trek and later as the voice of Galvatron in the 1986 animated film Transformers: The Movie.
- He shared insight and thoughts on the reaction to his first book ‘I Am Not Spock’, and how it bruised his standing with Star Trek fans in the 1970’s.
- Nimoy recounted Star Trek‘s impact on mainstream society, telling stories of some college professors rescheduling their classes away from Trek’s 6:00PM primetime television slot to ensure students would show up for class.
- One theme which seems to run true in his analysis of his own journey as an actor in classic Hollywood is his connection to an inherent human experience which he melds greatly with the evolution of Spock throughout the years.
- After the discussion he greeted guests in the lobby sitting for close to an hour signing autographs and promoting his photography book “Secret Selves”.
Accompanying the account at Trek News is a photo of Mr. Nimoy at the autograph table. (Found by Grace.)
Leonard Nimoy at a dinner honoring Floyd Abrams at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism on May 16th, 2011. (Found by Grace. You're amazing!) His attendence appears to have been a (mostly) well kept secret, as I've found no other mentioning of it so far.
On the website for the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center you'll find some photos from Mr. Nimoy's lecture at Boston University near the end of the slideshow below the headline reading A Year in Review, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Events 2010-2011.
Leonard Nimoy is coming to Dallas and KLUV radio talked to him on the phone about him doing a voice for Transformers, the Vulcan salut and his photography. (Found by Grace.)
"I identified with that a lot. Probably a lot of people did. I left home under troubled circumstances when I chose to be an actor. Spock left home under troubled circumstances when he chose to join Starfleet. And there was a day in my life when my parents acknowledged the fact that my choice, although they had been dead set against it when I left, had worked out well. That's what Sarek was acknowledging in the case of Spock."
There is an upside to being behind on transferring items from the What's New page into their designated categories. You get to do some follow up research. I reported in October 2010 that photographs by Mr. Nimoy would be shown at DAMNED III – An Exhibition of Enlightened Darkness in Detroit. Since, I've found the poster for the exhibition and this comment from the shows curator.
"Featuring the introspective works of Leonard Nimoy and Marcel Marceau." How did you manage THAT? And yes, we are asking it respectfully.
This was not an easy task, but something amazing rarely is. With our namesake and nearness to Halloween, our first impressions given are often horror-based, which can sometime create barriers on art requests. However, with great diligent work from guest curators Les Barany and Adam Layne, we were all able to convey respectfully how Nimoy's spiritual Shekhina series and Marceau's introspective paintings fit perfectly within our underlying theme and focus. Our goal has been to create as much within our means a world-class exhibition of deeply introspective fine works from artists worldwide. In the first two years, we were fortunate to feature the works of Oscar winner HR Giger and rock legend Marilyn Manson. The inclusion of Leonard Nimoy and the late Marcel Marceau this year in DAMNED III is now an amazing segue towards our new tagline: "An Exhibition of Enlightened Darkness."
Source: Real Detroit Weekly
Leonard Nimoy is interviewed about Star Trek V by 1280 WWTC. As the film is called "new," I suspect the date of the interview to be 1989.
The Fate of William Bell
Entertainment Weekly talked to the producers of Fringe and asked if we saw the last of Mr. Nimoy's character.
EW: Is William Bell (Leonard Nimoy) gone for good?
PINKNER: TBD for sure.
WYMAN: For sure.
For those who like me might find themselves in need to look up the meaning of TBD, it's the abbreviation for "to be determined."
More from Boston University
Fascinating: Leonard Nimoy Comes to Boston University
Metcalf was rustling. Hundreds of people murmured as they took their seats. College kids flipped flashcards anxiously as they waited for the action to begin. Snazzily dressed older women shuffled through rows of feet as they moved to their seats. As one man shifted to let one of these fierce senior citizens through, his jacket opened slightly, revealing a light blue shirt carrying an iconic insignia—that of the Star Trek Enterprise. And as the lights dimmed, a name projected on a draw down screen at the front of the room came into focus—Leonard Nimoy.
After a thorough introduction, he announced that Boston University would be receiving Nimoy’s archives.
Mr. Nimoy took the stage to a storm of applause from the audience and gave the large crowd a wry smile before beginning to speak. The topics of his speech ranged from growing up in Boston, to his early career, to his time working on Star Trek, to the many artistic projects he undertook afterwards.
Some of the anecdotes, and certainly the Star Trek trivia, were expected. Mr. Nimoy himself, however, was a thoroughly unexpected surprise. He was wry, empathetic, and, unlike his Star Trek counterpart, thoroughly human.
Read it all here.
Some comments about Mr. Nimoy's appearance at Boston University
I just saw Leonard Nimoy speak.I don’t really know what to say. He was so much more than I always thought he’d be. He was wise and funny and caring. He was honorable. In my mind, he would be a sassy, witty old man. He was.
But he was so much more, with his stories about quotes and meeting Kennedy and what it means to really care about everything you do. Like everyone else, he gets struck by certain moments and quotes. He laments. He marvels. He acts. He’s quick with a laugh. He loves Spock as much as we do.
He’s so much more than Spock and Star Trek and acting.
I honestly have no idea what I want to say about it. I just thought I should say something,anything.
So I guess I’ll say this:
When he walked on stage and said his first words, I didn’t die at the sound of his voice, like I thought I would. I kept talking about how he’d open his mouth and his voice would kill me, because we’d be in the same room, and it would be his voice. Leonard Nimoy’s voice.
No. When he said his first sentence, I didn’t die.
I came alive.
That’s trite and old, and it makes me cringe just writing it, but it’s true. I had never felt as alive as I had when he first said that the intro was so thorough he really didn’t have to say anything.
Being in the same room as my life heroes is something I don’t think I’ll ever quite get a grip on.
Source: The Schematic
oh yeah so
yesterday (monday) I heard leonard nimoy (aka spock from star trek) speak.
i thought it might be kinda dull and i wasn’t sure what to expect
im not even a huge star trek fan (i watched episodes as a child, but havent seen any in years) and i only went bc my dad and brother are huge trekkies and i got them tickets since he was speaking at BU
but he was awesome. he’s super intelligent and witty. i was kinda inspired actually. the whole talk was hilarious.
kudos to BU for the speakers that they bring here! I also heard Elie Wiesel speak first semester and it was a dream of mine to hear him speak ever since I read his book ‘Night’ in 10th grade. :]
Tonight, I saw Leonard Nimoy speak.
Was honestly moved to tears. He is such a genuine, beautiful man. His story is so interesting and he is wonderful at telling them. For 80, he’s still very spry and sharp. He’s been such an inspiration to me for as long as I can remember and to get a chance to see him was just such an honour. <3
So I just saw Leonard Nimoy speak. No big deal. Source: berkeleymarina
The Boston Phoenix
May 09, 2011
By S.I. Rosenbaum
Leonard Nimoy: An Alien from Boston
LN: I sent you some e-mails -- did you get them? I sent you three, I think. So, what are you looking at?
PHX: I'm looking at your camera.
LN: Yeah, that was a family camera that I started using in the 1940s.
PHX: Do you still have it?
PHX: Awesome. Now I'm looking at the Harry Rubin Credit Union.
LN: That's that front of the building where I lived, and the lady on the left is my grandma.
PHX: Did you take that?
LN: No -- this is great story. Some years ago, I was asked to narrate a documentary about the Vilna Shul, which is a synagogue up on Beacon Hill. So, they sent me the script, I recorded out here, I sent them the track, and when it was done, they sent me back the video. And I sit down to watch it with my brother in Boston, and it was about the Jews in Boston, and up comes this photograph which I had never seen before. It was our grandmother, in the picture. Evidently they'd gone to the Boston Public Library to find some old photographs of the West End, and this was one of the photographs they found. That's the front of the building where I spent the first eighteen years of my life.
PHX: Wow. What floor did you live on?
LN: On the third floor walk-up. The weird thing about it is the lady on the right lived downstairs, on the ground floor. She was Irish, and my grandmother spoke no English, so I often wondered how they communicated. It looked like they were having a conversation.
PHX: Did you grow up speaking Yiddish? Do you still?
LN: Yeah, my brother and I. My brother, who was four and a half years older that me, it was his first language. And I went to Russian about 25 years ago and visited my parents' birthplace. It was a very exciting, emotional experience for me. It was a great time.
PHX: What was it like over there?
LN: It was still very primitive. I found some cousins who have since immigrated to the United States. It was quite a trip. My wife and I were in Moscow for a week. I was invited over to show one of my movies.
PHX: Which movie?
LN: Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home. The one with the whales. Yeah, the World Wildlife Fund was holding a celebration in Russia, because the Russians had declared a moratorium on whale-hunting, so they asked me to come show the movie in Moscow. ...
PHX: And from there you struck out to find your relatives?
LN: And photography was an interesting connection. They had no idea who I was; they were just told that someone was coming from the United States. They were very suspicious, very paranoid. They thought they were being investigated or something. So, my wife and I got there at their very modest stucco house and they sat us down and offered us some beer, vodka, some fruit, and the conversation was very stilted and tense, because they really didn't know what this was all about. And finally, the guy went to another room and came back with a white envelope, in pristine condition, with a United States postage stamp on it, and I immediately recognize my mother's handwriting on the envelope. And he opened it, and pulled out two small black and white photographs about three or four inches square. A group of children in each photograph, and he asked me if I knew who these kids were, and I said to him in Yiddish, "These are my children," and the other one, "These are my brother's children." And then of course that broke the ice, and they knew who I was and understood what our relationship was. Now, you've gotta understand that the kids in those photographs were about eight or nine or ten years old, and when they showed them to me about 25 years ago, those people were in their mid or late thirties, so they'd been holding those photographs in the envelope in a drawer somewhere for 25 years. My mother mailed it to them 25 years earlier! To show them what was happening with the American version of the family, and they had been holding on to those photographs like a connection to another world.
LN: Well I grew up feeling alien.
PHX: Tell me about that.
LN: Well, Boston is and was a very Catholic city. And I was not a Catholic; I was not a Christian, so I felt very much, the other.
PHX: Really? Where did you experience that?
LN: Well, whereever you went. St. Joseph's Church was right across the street from where we lived. I was constantly aware of the Catholicism around me. I remember as a kid, I must've been eight or nine years old when I heard my parents and some relatives and friends gathered in our apartment talking politics and somebody said, "A Catholic will never be elected President of the United States." I didn't understand that. I wasn't aware that it was only Boston that was so predominantly Catholic. I really didn't understand that! I was confused! I thought why not?
PHX: So, did you feel like an alien within your own neighborhood, within your own family as well?
LN: No, just within the culture, in the broader culture.
PHX: How were you able to deal with that as a kid?
LN: Well, when I came to California, everything changed. It just didn't have that kind of intense religious atmosphere that I experienced in Boston as a kid. The fact is that my very first validation as an actor came from a Jesuit priest. It was weird. I was acting around town, around Boston, in various plays. Some at the Peabody House, and other places, and I was in a production of a play called John Loves Mary or something like that, and it was being directed by a Jewish director friend of mine who was a student at Boston College, and he invited the head of the drama department to come and see the production, which he did. A wonderful Jesuit priest, I'll never forget him. His name was Father John Bonn. And he came backstage after the performance and we got to meet. This was in the spring of 1949. And he said to me, "What are you doing this summer?" and I said, "I haven't got any plans," and he said "Well, you do now." And he put me in a summer program at BC, eight weeks, which was really intense and wonderful and it was acting and improv and speech classes in the morning and rehearsals in the afternoon and performances in the evening. And then you'd maybe work on the set until about 2 o' clock in the morning for next weeks show, flop out on the stage and go to sleep for a few hours and then get up and do it all over again.
Read more here.
Tonight Mr. Nimoy will appear at Boston University and he's obviously looking forward to returning to his old neighborhood.
BU Today spoke with him in preparation for the event:
May 9, 2011
By Amy Laskowski
Leonard Nimoy Comes to BU
Mr. Spock will speak as part of the Gotlieb lecture series
BU Today: Where in Boston did you grow up?
Nimoy: I grew up in the West End of Boston. You know that sign on Storrow Drive that said, “If you lived here, you’d be home now?” Right over there, near the Elizabeth Peabody Playhouse, that’s the area where I grew up, Chambers Street, St. Joseph’s Church. The whole section was torn down.
I left Boston in 1951 to pursue a career in acting. I started acting on stages when I was eight years old. My first play was Hansel and Gretel, and I played Hansel.
You play the character of William Bell on Fox’s Fringe, which just got picked up for another season despite rumors it might be canceled. Were you concerned about that?
The writer and producers are extremely creative and very resourceful. They’re able to take these interesting ideas, and it’s fun to see where they’re going and be a part of it. I consider myself a retired actor. I do small parts on Fringe, but when I was acting full-time I was always concerned about shows being canceled.
Tell us about your photography.
I have been fascinated by photography since I was 13. One of my first photographs was a photo I took of my grandfather on the banks of the Charles River in 1944. I used to be busy with darkroom work and developing my own prints, but now I’ve turned to digital photography since it has gotten so much better. My work is conceptual—by that I mean I don’t carry cameras. Rather, I wait until something intrigues me and I want to photograph something.
Spock has become an iconic character. What was it like being part of Star Trek?
Star Trek is ancient history. When I was doing that show, we had no way of knowing how long it would be on the air, and we were always marginal in the ratings, always in danger of being canceled. I felt strongly that we were doing strong material; the ideas and themes of that show were relevant for so many people in their daily lives. I was so happy to be in that show because I think it had social relevance. I think finally that’s why the show endured. We were only on for three seasons but were very successful in reruns, and then there was a series of movies and other Star Trek shows that came along. It has had a very interesting and prosperous life.
Do you have any advice for aspiring actors?
You had better be dedicated, because it’s a long road. Get experience, by training, training, training. Be passionate. Don’t look for yourself in the art—look for the art in yourself.
YouTube not only gave new life to In Search Of... which Mr. Nimoy hosted, but also to his singing career and it seems he's getting a kick out of it, tweeting the link to a video created with Go!Animate to his rendition of The Mayor of Ma's Cafe.
Behind the Scenes on Star Trek IV
Chris Doohan, son of the late James Doohan, wrote a guest blog at Trek Movie and shared some family photos that include pictures of Leonard Nimoy as director of the movie. More here.
Beyond Spock on Tumblr
As I've said in an editorial rant in the past, if I would start this fan page today, I'd probably do it as a blog. Now I've taken that step and created an account for Beyond Spock on Tumblr. I see it as a supplement to the website. It's not meant to supplant the existing page, which will remain my main playground. Mainly, I see myself mirroring the "What's New" page, with the added benefit of allowing for comments to the posts on Tumblr. Plus, it gives me a location where I can put scans of interviews and audio & short video samples all in one place. I hope you'll enjoy this new feature.
In the book The Little Theatre on the Square the costume designer remembers working on One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest starring Mr. Nimoy.
Another person drawn into the theatre's realm was Sharon White, who designed and made costumes starting in 1973. Her husband, Ron, joined a local pharmacy the preceding year and, according to White, she was somewhat hesitant about the move. "The only reason that I came, willingly, to Sullivan was because I knew the theatre was here and I could get involved with it and that would save me and it did."
For White, the theatre made an aspect of life in a small town extraordinary. She summed up the frustrations and rewards when she described costuming for Leonard Nimoy in One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest in 1974. "As McMurphy, [Nimoy] was this rough, tough ... looking character and he decided it would be more macho if he had a tattoo. I would go in every evening before the Show and paint tattoos on his arm. That is sort of an intimate thing... Here I am with Mr. Spock, for god's sakes, and I am painting pictures on his arms. I couldn't have met Mr. Spock if The Little Theatre On The Square didn't exist."
White continued to describe how Nimoy took over as director and noted some of the challenges associated with costuming such a play. "The person that Guy hired turned out to be such a washout that, early in rehearsal, [Nimoy] took over and did direct ... it was very powerful. [Cuckoo's Nest] kind of stretched me as a costumer because the whole thing takes place in an insane asylum and I had to sew things like straitjackets.... I was running around the mental health clinic saying, `Do you have a photograph of a straitjacket? I have to make one.—
On a Personal Note
The good news is I'm working more hours for the year to come (And I've been spending some of that extra money this month on Ebay to bring you some more goodies). The bad news is, you might have guessed it since I didn't get to update the page for a few days, I'm going to work more hours for the year to come. My shifts not always become my social life and while doing this website still is a lot of fun, real life might interfere a bit more in the future. Please bear with me while I'm adjusting to my new schedule. But I still strife to bring you something new every few days since I have so much more to share...
An Evening With Leonard Nimoy at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach, California (Found by Grace. Thank you for helping out when I didn't have the time to search the net)
We very much enjoyed Leonard Nimoy’s presentation. He spoke at length of his background, his long career in acting, directing, poetry, and photography. He showed slides of old family photographs, his various acting roles, and his photography over the years (even before he became a fine arts photographer). He read some of his lovely, deep, and moving words of poetry from his various published volumes, and ended the 80 minute presentation with a benediction for all of us to lead creative lives. He was alternately funny, philosophical, intellectual, impish, and spiritual.
I don’t know if he intends to video one of these evening presentations, but I hope he does. Regardless of one’s personal attachment to his acting roles, his insight into the artistic process and the creative mind is captivating and inspiring.
And hey—we got to see Leonard Nimoy do a William Shatner playing Captain Kirk impression! What can beat that?